VANCOUVER -- Imagine catching a train in Chilliwack and arriving at the slopes in 60 minutes.

The Mountain Valley Express is the brainchild of a group of local academics, who say they are well aware of Metro Vancouver’s traffic pains.

The high speed rail corridor would connect Whistler and Chilliwack, with stops at key hubs along the way, like downtown Vancouver and Squamish.

“This is a massive project,” said Mountain Valley Express spokesperson Alex Gaio. “I’m not going to underplay that.”

The concept is meant to encourage politicians to consider new transportation options for the route. It would use existing highways and railways, and its creators figured it would whisk passengers to the ski hill 80 per cent faster than by car.

Transportation consultant David Cooper applauds the ingenuity, and said new ideas are needed to deal with gridlock, but doubts this kind of high-speed project would be built.

“This is a very complex technology for us to enter into,” said Cooper, owner of Leading Mobility Consulting. “We’d have to look into so many different impacts, and it’s going to be really expensive with a long timeframe.”

The cost is steep. The project would run $7 billion to $16 billion, depending on whether it’s built through tunnels or at grade, as well as the size of the stations.

At the same time, Gaio argued the passenger line would created thousands of jobs and generate some $90 billion in revenue.